Earlier this week as I planned what I would write today, I frequently came back to the idea that being at home with my children was not how I had imagined it would be. I finished my time as student and our nanny’s contract ended in December, so I decided I would take some time at home with my children. I don’t know if it was the excitement of Christmas, the changes in routine of the holidays, the cold weather that kept us inside, my expectations about what I get done each day, the appointments and activities we had scheduled, the transitions into the “terrible twos” (times two!) or the physical effects of diet, sleep and exercise patterns, but things were not going as I had imagined.
But today, things seemed to get on track. My son (Big Brother or BB) got up and came down for breakfast with a smile on his face. We enjoyed our breakfast together. I cuddled my three children (and their three babies) on the couch and we read stories together. The girls (R and S) took turns examining each other and their babies with the medical kit. BB planned a pretend birthday party for us, and he sang happy birthday to each of sisters (after asking me “what name is this baby?”). That seemed like a perfect time to have snack, so they had the homemade muffins we made yesterday sitting together in the living room. My son vacuumed up the crumbs, while R and S took the dishes into the kitchen. Everyone helped out.
For lunch, we made cornmeal muffins with leftover chicken and vegetables. They were thrilled with muffins for a main course, even though lunch was a little later than usual. BB stayed upstairs for his required quiet time, and I got to have some time to eat my lunch by myself. R and S settled for nap, and slept over an hour.
When quiet time was over BB played independently for a while. When the girls finished their nap, they played fairly independently too. I showed BB how to play a counting game on the computer (also good practice for his fine motor skills), and I had a few minutes to sit down and look at a new cookbook I got for Christmas. Dinner was leftover soup I made in the crockpot yesterday, so there was no panic to get food on the table for dinner.
We accomplished quite a bit during the day. I worked with R and S using the techniques from speech therapy. We worked together to label with new toy bins they got for Christmas. I’d been anxious to get this done, so it was a big relief to cross it off my to-do list. I got two loads of laundry done, which is the minimum required to keep up with recently potty-trained twins since I refuse to buy pull-ups for naps and bedtime. The kitchen was mostly clean before dinner after two loads of dishes. BB had vacuumed parts of the house, and most of the toys were put away in the toy bins.
The day wasn’t without its moments. I did have to intervene and take away a few toys. There were a couple of accidents, and some poopy training pants. I had to threaten to put the girls in playpens before they quieted for naptime, and my son tried to disassemble the Learning Tower. There were a few flare-ups between the kids, particularly when I was on the phone.
But overall, something was different. Maybe things did go more smoothly. Maybe my expectations were more realistic. Maybe I’m getting better at integrating what the kids need with what I want to accomplish. Maybe we’re all getting in to a routine, especially when we don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. Whatever happened, today is much closer to how I imagined things would be.